Alcoa seeks federal loan for auto plant

Ford's next generation F-Series pickups will be made of aluminum Ford’s next generation F-Series pickups will be made of aluminum[/caption]Alcoa is in contention for a loan from the Energy Department to help expand aluminum giant’s plant for supplying the auto industry in Tennessee.

The loan would go to the expansion of the factory in Alcoa, Tenn., which was announced last year and is already under way. Automotive News reported progress on the loan based on the environmental permit form signed by both DOE and Alcoa. The news didn’t help Alcoa’s shares any on Wednesday. They were down 11 cents to close at $13.37.

Alcoa confirms it has applied for the loan, but it hasn’t been officially granted yet.

The sheet aluminum industry is expanding to meet demand from automakers, who are turning to the metal as a lightweight replacement for steel. The big breakthrough came in January when Ford announced the next generation of the F-150 pickup will be made of alumininum. The F-Series pickup is the nation’s best-selling vehicle.

The DOE’s loan programs have been controversial. Tesla Motors helped get its start with a DOE loan, which it repaid. But hybrid car maker Fisker went out of business after receiving its loan and the program came under fire by Republicans in the 2012 presidential race.


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